Operational readiness is key to business continuity, says business council official
April 01 2020 12:53 AM
Greg Loayon
Now is the right time for companies to consider getting risk mitigation and business continuity programmes, Loayon points out.

Operational readiness would play a key factor in helping many companies across all industries cope with the challenges wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the chairman of the Philippine Business Council – Qatar (PBCQ) has said.
According to Greg Loayon, there are different companies worldwide that are already conducting simulations that help them implement various types of emergency responses, such as natural disasters, fire, theft, or geopolitical instability.
“From a preparedness perspective, some companies conduct regular simulation exercises or drills to train employees on how to operate off-site or during ‘work from home’ scenarios.
“To assure that there is business continuity, some drills, aside from working from home, also simulate work operations from an ‘emergency office’ in the event of disasters, wars, or different types of calamities that prevents access to offices,” Loayon told Gulf Times.
Business continuity planning is not a normal exercise, which is why there are still many companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and even some large companies that do not have contingency plans, he said.
“A lot of companies, whether large or SMEs, were caught off guard by the coronavirus pandemic. For example, their IT infrastructure is not ready; they do not have the necessary tools to enable them to function 100% or at least to operate with the majority of its staff off-site. Now is the right time for them to consider getting risk mitigation and business continuity programmes,” Loayon pointed out.
“When operations are paralysed, that’s the only time when affected companies are trying to determine which software to use for collaboration scenarios or what arrangements should be put in place. It is also important to use the right software in order to function during these scenarios,” he further explained.
Loayon noted that companies should also determine which risk mitigating measures or business continuity plans are appropriate for their business. 
“Depending on the situation, a particular protocol may not be suitable for all companies. While the plan may be part of an overall strategy, because of the nature of the business, a work-from-home arrangement would still impact its operations.
“How can retail businesses operate from a work-from-home arrangement? So, in terms of emergencies, preparedness should be part and parcel a company’s risk assessment,” Loayon stressed.

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